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  1. #41
    cooltouch's Avatar
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    In general modern zooms are superior to some older models. But many older models were built to a higher standard than many current models are, and were more expensive (in adjusted dollars or euros or yen or whatever) then than zooms are now.

    For years, my favorite walking around lens was a Vivitar S1 28-90 f/2.8-3.5. It is still one of my all-time favorite lenses.

    I have done a lot of tests of various primes and zooms over the past couple of years, and my conclusion is that the better zooms I've tried (most manual focus, most 20 years old or more), such as Vivitar S1, Tamron SP, Tokina AT-X, as well as Canon and Nikon hold up very well to their prime counterparts.

    However, since you are referring specifically to street shooting, then I question whether a zoom is even something you need. For street shooting, I prefer to use a 35mm prime dialed up to about f/8 or so. That gives me sufficient depth of field -- and a wide enough field of view without things getting too distorted -- where I can just point the camera at the subject without even having to bring it up to my eye.

  2. #42
    Pumalite's Avatar
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    I prefer prime lenses; especially old ones, like the Nikkors. Sometimes I use zooms like the Olympus 35-105 or Carl Zeiss. For street photography I stick to a 35mm at f/8 or f/11
    " A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~

  3. #43

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    This depends on so many things... modern zoom lenses, especially the "pro-class" ones like Canon EF with the red ring are great and don't have to hide from any prime. You may see a small difference under the microscope, but film, camera shaking, etc. are the greater limit there. Cheap kit lenses or superzooms like a 28-300mm (or even the 20x zooms on current digital cameras) are a different story, though. They're always a compromise of being universally useful against optical and mechanical quality.

    I love primes for other reasons than pure optical quality or sharpness. Firstly, even the fastest zooms go to only f/2,8 and can't be compared to a 55mm/1,4 in low light or when you want very shallow DoF. Also the bokeh is usually nicer and there's less lens flare. I'll take a decent prime with 6 elements over a zoom with a dozen or more lenses any day because there'll always be reflections and more abberations, even with multi coating. And last but not least, I find primes better for my own style and creativity... and much more healthy as long as I can substitute any zoom with two healthy legs

    For street shooting, I usually prefer the EF 28-105mm USM, though... the quality is good enough for me at f/8, it's got a nice universal range and very quite and fast autofocus. It's lovely for those moments, when you just want to take the picture without thinking too much or really doing anything but pressing the shutter.

  4. #44
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moki View Post
    This depends on so many things... modern zoom lenses, especially the "pro-class" ones like Canon EF with the red ring are great and don't have to hide from any prime.
    They couldn't anyway, being so big!
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by lxdude View Post
    They couldn't anyway, being so big!
    That's what I was saying Also useful for self-defense and demolishing concrete walls...

  6. #46
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    That's another factor about zooms against primes is the size and the handling, I find sometimes that by the time I stop zooming to get the right image size and composition , the picture I had envisaged is gone.
    Ben

  7. #47
    Markster's Avatar
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    Conversely, I often find by the time I have to swap out my FD lenses, the same is true, whereas I could have made the shot with a 1-touch zoom.
    -Markster

    Canon AE-1P 35mm | 50mm/f1.8 FDn | 28mm/2.8 FD | 70-200mm/f4-5 FD | 35-70mm/F2.8-3.5 Sigma FD

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